Bristol linguists sought for repatriation duties

April 13, 2011

One of the UK’s leading providers of medical repatriation services, Bristol-based Wings Medical Group, is calling for linguists to come forward to help meet rising demand from all over the world.

At any time of the day or night staff at Wings Medical Group’s Brislington office might be called upon to bring injured or ill Brits back to the UK or, conversely, repatriate foreign nationals back to their home countries.

“In these kinds of situations, some of which can be a matter of life or death, communication is key,” said Cathy Gratze, manager of aero-med services at Wings Medical Group. “We have to be able to communicate with doctors and nurses anywhere in the world about a particular patient’s medical status, including what medication they might require or if they have any specialist requirements or conditions.”

She added: “For that reason we have to keep a full roster of linguists on our books to help us liaise with medical teams from all four corners of the globe.”

This year Wings Medical Group, which also operates a fleet of private medical ambulances, celebrates its 25th anniversary. In that time the organisation and its linguists have successfully repatriated more than 40,000 patients who have become sick or injured while abroad.

For the past three years Wings Medical Group has sourced its linguists through a successful partnership with the University of Bath’s MA in Applied Linguistics course.

“We are, though, constantly on the look out for more,” said Cathy Gratze. “We need linguists fluent in all languages, but especially Italian, Eastern European, German, Punjabi and Portuguese.”

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